Hello everyone! Man it feels like it has been forever since I talked to you last but it has been just as long as it is every other transfer week. By the way, we just had transfers.... I totally forgot to tell you that we were getting calls this Sunday. I will tell you about that in a second.
This week was super long. Tuesday was just like any other day in the mission. Lots of tracting and teaching and such. But being with Elder Siglin really helps out! Wednesday was great! I gave a training on language and why its so important to use proper language in all our lessons and times when we are around other people. You should use appropriate language all the time anyway but there are things you shouldn't say in a lesson like calling them our investigators or "crap" or things along those lines because they take away from the Spirit and it really does make a difference. We also talked about filler words that we use, such as: "Um", "You know" "...what I mean" can be included with that as well), and "Like". Also what we call "fluff" isn't good either. There are two types of invitations: Bold and Fluffy. Fluffy means that you add words in that aren't necessary and may even give them a way out of accepting the invitation, like, "Would you be willing to try reading the Book of Mormon and the if you feel like you are ready getting baptized?". The bold way is straight forward and powerful in a loving manner, "You can know the Book of Mormon is true by reading and Praying about it. When you come to know it's true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the proper Priesthood authority of God?" To practice not using filler words or fluff, we each stood up in front of the district and we had to introduce the Book of Mormon in under a minute and invite them to read and pray about it. It was a great lesson!
Later Wednesday night we went to help the young women out with their activity. There was us, Elders Williamson and Dalling (they are in the ward with us), and Sisters Camp and Yarborough (they are not in our ward but we invited them cause the young women wanted girls there too). We talked about our conversion story and how we came to have our own personal testimony that the church is true and why we decided to serve missions. It was a blast! We were all laughing and having a good time but when it was time to be serious it got quiet and everyone listened intently and were touched by the Spirit. There was never a dull moment cause either we were laughing or being spiritually uplifted. I realized that I haven't told you guys a lot about my past. And I don't know if over an email is the best way to do so or if you even want to know. But I want you to know that I have made mistakes and have taken the necessary steps to be forgiven of those sins. But it was a great meeting. :)
Thursday was nothing special, just another day living the life of a missionary! Friday was the baptismal interviews for Isaac and Karina Paramo. They cancelled on us 30 minutes before the interview.... :( Everything was going downhill with the family. Lalo had a job that he loved but the truck company he worked for lost their contract somehow and everyone in the company got laid off. So Lalo has been looking frantically for a job but to no avail. So he got super depressed and started drinking Thursday night. He has a tattoo on both hands in the area between your thumbs and pointer fingers. Well he thought that maybe if he got rid of those then people would be more willing to hire him. So he took a spoon and stuck in on the burner for about a minute.... He then tried to burn the tattoo off of his left hand but just ended up with a really bad burn that has been blistering like crazy but the tattoo hasn't been effected in any way. So Friday he didn't want to drive because it hurt so bad and wanted to do the baptismal interview just before the baptism on Saturday. I told him that that wouldn't work and he told me to just try and then hung up. Well a few minutes later, Isaac called and said he didn't want to get baptized cause he and Karina weren't ready. That was a hard thing to hear. He hung up and no one would answer their phone but we got a text from Lalo telling us not to come over that night cause they were heading out. So that was hard.
Saturday we went over and visited him. The kids didn't get baptized but Lalo poured his heart out to us and to his kids and wife about how much he loves them and how much he loves the church. He said that he is willing to give up any worldly thing to make sure his family is provided for but that it really hurts when he is willing to make these sacrifices but his kids aren't willing to get baptized when they know it's true. He started crying and the kids started crying and I started crying and it was just amazing. In the 3 months I have been in the Palo Verde ward, that was the most powerful lesson we've had with them. Lalo said they wouldn't be able to make it to church cause he felt like people would judge him for not having his kids get baptized and so on. They were just excuses but he was crying as he asked us not to be mad at him for not coming so we told him that no one would judge him but that if he didn't want to come this week then they wouldn't have to even though we would love him to be there. He didn't come Sunday but we got to go over and see them that evening and it was great.
Sunday was good. Church was fine! We missed Sunday School helping a little girl try to find her ring that she dropped during sacrament meeting and was throwing a big fit about it. We never found it but she eventually calmed down so that's good. It will turn up, I'm sure of it! In Priesthood we talked about Christ-like attributes and did a little test thing for ourselves to find out where we measure up to all of the standards listed in Preach My Gospel. If you would like to take it as a family sometime, it is in PMG at the end of the Christ-like attributes section (I think that's number 10). What I haven't mentioned yet is that we got transfer calls on Sunday night. I have been asked to transfer out to the Gila Valley and turn it from an apostate area to an obedient area. However, there are already 3 District Leaders and 2 Zone Leaders out here so he asked if I would be willing to step down momentarily from District Leader till we need one in this area again. I said sure but kind of hesitantly. He sensed that very quickly and assured me that it wasn't a bad thing that I was being stepped down. He said I did a great job and really helped my district out and did great trainings! But that I was needed else-where for the time being. I'm okay with that.
So Monday was full of packing and saying goodbye to people. The hardest people to say goodbye to was Bishop Howe's family and the Thomas family. We were at each of those houses for 2 hours eating and laughing and talking and I didn't want to leave. But we needed to so I could finish packing. It was a sad day knowing that I wouldn't be with Elder Siglin anymore. We were great companions and I really loved serving with him. But I am super excited for my new area!
I am currently serving in the Gila Valley, specifically Pima, AZ. I am with Elder Justin Wardell and he has been our for 23 months. This is his last transfer which in our mission lingo means that I am going to "kill" him. That just means that I will be his last companion before he goes home. We live out in the middle of no where and cover 3 wards: Pima 1st, Pima 4th, and Fort Thomas. We have a new set of sisters too who just took the place of a set of Elders who weren't following the mission rules. They cover the other 4 wards in the stake. That means that it is just us 2 sets of missionaries coving the stake... Sounds like a Utah mission! Gila Valley is like a mini Utah but in the middle of Arizona so it feels pretty much like home. There are lots of restaurants and fast food joints around here and we get discounts at places like McDonalds and Dairy Queen and a free pizza once a week at Little Caesars. So I'm super stoked to be out here! I hit a year in just a couple of weeks. I am super excited! Time is just flying by.
Well I better finish up! My letter is getting long and I'm running out of things to talk about. Remember I love you all and I pray for you everyday!
~Elder Kyle Harris